It seems simple, but it’s a very big idea. And URI Clinical Professor of Nursing Judith Mercer isn’t the only one to think so. The National Institutes of Health awarded a $2 million, five-year grant for her to continue her investigation into the health benefits of delayed umbilical cord clamping on preterm infants.

When a baby with a very low birth-weight is born, the cord is usually cut immediately. Professor Mercer, who is also a certified nurse-midwife, wondered if a delay in cutting the cord would provide more blood from the placenta and health benefits for the baby?

She found it does. “This low tech change in clinical practice has the potential to reduce the risk of disease and disability, and to improve the neonatal and early childhood outcomes for these most vulnerable preterm infants,” she says.

Judith Mercer’s big idea is having a big impact on the smallest among us.